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Author Topic: Converting an anarcho-communist  (Read 50003 times)
AgoristTeen1994
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« on: June 03, 2012, 10:23:04 PM »

Hello I recently came across an anarcho-communist who is willing to calmly and rationally debate Ancap vs. AnCom apolitics. The problem that while he said he is willing to read a short book on Anarcho-Capitalism it has to be a short one. The main issue with him is that he seems to think there's a fixed amount of wealth in the world, and for someone to win, someone else has to lose. Any suggestions on short books that might correct his assumption?
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Seth King
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« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2012, 10:27:56 PM »

I wouldn't recommend to him anything you haven't read yourself.
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JustSayNoToStatism
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« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2012, 12:12:33 AM »

If there are very specific things you want to convey to him, it's best to do it yourself, rather than through a book. You know him and how he thinks, so you can craft the message specifically for him. Whatever book you recommend wasn't written for ancoms.

"The amount of matter on the planet is (roughly) constant. But wealth can't be. If wealth on the planet is finite, then how can you explain what occurs when two people engage in trade?"
^ I'd open with something like that.
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"I like to eat. Instead of a monarch I propose we have a Chef be final arbiter in matters. We'll call it anarcho-chefism."
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rahvin
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« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2012, 02:27:39 AM »

How about an article?

http://mises.org/daily/5590

I think you may also point out that money is not wealth.  Yes, there's a finite amount of money but it's only a medium of exchange.  (We'll set aside the fact that legal tender laws put a limit on the amount of money.) People don't collect money for the sake of having money.  They get money so they can acquire wealth (stuff). 

The problem with a fixed amount of wealth in the world is more of a problem present in an-syn rather than an-cap, i think.  An-syns don't allow for inter-temporal exchanges (loans, like most people can't buy a home or capital goods or other large ticket items for cash and so they finance it) because property belongs to the person using it in the moment.  Therefore, since absentee ownership and inter-temporal exchanges aren't legitimate it seriously prevents the creation of wealth.
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AgoristTeen1994
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« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2012, 03:49:10 AM »

Thanks for the bits of advice here's what I said to him among other things:

Also I have a question for you....How do you define wealth? Do you define as "money" like say the U.S. dollar or bitcoins? If that's the case that is NOT wealth, let's take the U.S. dollar i.e. the Federal Reserve Note (FRN). All FRN's are what their purpose is, is as a medium of exchange. People don't own FRN's just so they can own FRN's. They own them because they can give them to someone else, in exchange for a good or service. Now to be precise a medium of exchange is "money" it's something that is used in place of bartering directly for goods or services. Wealth while it IS possible to define it as "money" it is usually defined as such because that person can then buy a lot of goods and/or services, correct? So to be precise wealth is how much property either in the form of land, or "capital" to personal possessions like guns, knives, and tools, you either own or can buy.

That aside, the "Creation of Wealth" does not refer to the monetary value of a good or service. It refers to the total amount of the good or service. id est, while if we triple the amount of food in the world, the monetary value of food will plummet by about one-third, the overall value stays the same, PLUS each person can now have more food then they could before. Ergo you are "creating wealth" Or since you didn't want to look at food let's look at another form of capital, or the "means of production" a factory. If there are 10 factories in a community, and the you build say another 90, the price is going to go down by about 90% give or take a little bit. Now this isn't a sudden drop. It's in fact a slow, steady decline. Because of this, as you build each factory, the monetary value decreases, thus the overhead for the owner(s) of each successive factory goes down as well. Because of this, they don't need to make as much money before they break even, and start to make a profit. And because of the lower overhead the owner(s) of the factory can sell whatever is produced by the factory at a lower price per unit than before, thus allowing more people to own that good. Look at it this way, if you take two communities, where all else being equal, in community A everyone owns a car, whereas in community B one person owns a car, which community would you say is more wealthy, community A, or community B?
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JustSayNoToStatism
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« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2012, 12:32:19 PM »

Nice work. Especially the part on separating wealth from paper currency. For fun I like mentioning trade because you can point out that increasing wealth doesn't necessarily mean creating more stuff. If we trade two goods then wealth increases. How? I value the new thing more than the old, and the same for you. The value of both things increased. Wealth+++.
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Aegidius
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« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2012, 12:59:12 PM »

See, wealth is what we value, and value is subjective
what one values depends on one's perspective
so it don't make much sense to measure wealth objectively
factor quantatatively
study scientifically
'cause one man's trash is another man's treasure
one man's pain is another man's pleasure
one man's work is another man's leisure
all things you must remember before you start to measure.

-Dorian Electra
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"I need not say how eager we are to trade with you and your kind!  Now, how can I be of service to you?"
AgoristTeen1994
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« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2012, 01:29:58 PM »

Thanks Aegidius and JSNTS. I'll definitely mention it, I thought of doing so but was hesitant.
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IveBeenBit
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« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2012, 11:51:57 PM »

Check out the term - "Consumer surplus."

It's a neat economic idea and is accepted even by non-Austrians. Do a youtube search and you should be able to find someone explaining it.

The rough idea is this....

Suppose I am a shoemaker and I make a bunch of shoes.

You're looking for someone to sell you a pair of shoes.

I sell you shoes for $50, but I value them less than that. Because I'm a shoemaker, I have a lot of shoes that I would be willing to sell for cheap. Suppose you haggled me down to $40, and I would still be happy with the deal. In fact, if you bargained really hard, I would go down to $30 if you really pushed it.

So now I've just sold shoes for $50 and my rock bottom price would have been $30.

There's a "$20" surplus of wealth. That I achieve in the transaction.

Even better....suppose you really like the shoes. You would have been happy with your purchase up to $80 but I sold them to you for $50 and you feel you're getting a great bargain. There is now a $30 consumer suprlus. In other words, you got $80 worth of value from the transaction and only had to spend $50 ($30 surplus). So you get thirty dollars worth of "happiness" added to your life from our commerce.

The shoemaker similarly can say that he received $20 worth of value ($50-30) from the exchange. Thus, as the division of labor increases, and free exchange happens, it makes all of society better off. Dollars are dollars. In this sort of example, they are just a crude way of quantifying your "level of happiness."

Faced with the price tag on the shoes, you may ask, "Does buying these bring $50 worth of value/happiness into my life?" If the answer is yes, then you buy. In reality, they probably bring MORE than $50 worth of value to your life and anything above your purchase price is the "consumer surplus."

This is separating money (# of "Dollars") from wealth. Because we all value things differently through our individual preferences, free trade enables us all to improve ourselves while helping others. Money...i.e. the "number of dollars" is just a measuring stick to measure how much value (Happiness/satisfaction/other abstraction/whatever) a certain action brings to your life.

I'm drunk, but I hope that makes sense. I did the best I could.  Cheesy

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Euler
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« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2012, 10:37:45 AM »

In my experience, the biggest obstacle seems to be convincing them that in a peaceful exchange of goods, both parties obtain a surplus of value. Does your friend also get stuck on this point?
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AgoristTeen1994
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« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2012, 02:50:34 PM »

@Euler I think that's part of it.

Oh and here's our most recent exchange:

(my acquaintance) "Problem with keeping capital is that it dictates our interactions. I'll be less likely to spend my time gardening when I could make more money flipping burgers. My time is spent on profit making rather than what's best for creativity, enjoyment, and social interactions. Imagine a world where we could do what we want without having to worry about the amount of bitcoins I have"

(me) "While you do raise an intersting point, that is not neccessarily true in all cases. for example I am a big science nerd. I especialy love physics and neuroscience, and I plan on going nto one of those as a career. even though I could make more money by becoming a neurologist I wouldn't like doing so because I am a very...,eccentric person. if you've ever seen the show House M.D, I am a lot like Dr. House. so while I coukd make more money going into neurology, I plan on going into a career that I'd enjoy more. and that's true for a lot of other people too. there are a lot of people who go into a career doing something they love even if they make less money. Also even if someone were to choose to go into a career field where they'd make a lot of money even if they would hate the job, that's their choice to make is it not, since it is THEIR life."

(Him) "I agree and disagree. I have a college education and probably will get a PHD. I am only able to do this because my parents have money. However, this is not the case for most Americans. Looking at a super extreme case (since we know these are the best to make a point) we can see situations where society/the need for capital prevents this "job choice" argument from working: say a child is born to two disabled parents in the ghetto. The child is expected to support her parents as soon as she is able to work. Say she wants to be a doctor. I don't see how this is possible. Sure you could say, well she could work and attend school at the same time, but honesty that's a crap life and close to impossible. What if she has to be her parents caregivers. Saying we can all be what we want to be, come from a societal position of privilege."


(me) "Ah but I never said that anyone can be what they want to be. 1. They have to have the mental capabilities and 2, they have to be willing to work to get what they want. But that aside while you DO have a point in the scenario you gave, you have to consider that in a anarcho-capitalist/market anarchist society there is nothing precluding individuals from forming private charities. So let's say in the example you gave, with the girl that' in addition to the misfortunes she has she's also really smart and willing to work hard to get what she wants, alright? Well she or her parents COULD rely on a private charity or help from friends or other family members. I know this from experience, since I grew up with my paternal grandma and her mother since my dad died, due to the fact my mom is a total deadbeat (which relates to what I"ll bring up later). Most of our family skipped our on helping yes, UNTIL my great-grandma started dying from leukemia and before that broke her ankle and was diagnosed with dementia. Then they helped a lot. They helped pay for the nurse we hired to come in on a regular basis, they came in to watch my great-grandma, they would give me rides since I didn't have my driver's license, and all sorts of things. And now that my great-grandma has passed, they helped pay for the funeral costs and miscellaneous associated costs. THAT shows what people voluntarily working together can do. I'm assuming you think that in an anarcho-capitalist society there'd be no charity, the closest you'd get to such things is people offering discounts if you're "needy" and that it'd be every person for themselves. That's not the case. People could still work together in various manners and provide charity.

Also in regards to the cost of college and medical school for the girl, that's what scholarships are for. While with the current geopolitical landscape in the U.S. a lot of financial aid comes from the gov't, a lot of it also comes from private, non-governmental sources. Also, you have to consider that a lot of the rising cost of college comes from gov't interference"
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JustSayNoToStatism
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« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2012, 03:15:02 PM »

Quote
I have a college education and probably will get a PHD
Let me guess. Sociology.
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Josh D
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« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2012, 08:12:55 PM »

AgoristTeen1994,

I really like your debate style.  Your summary of your conversation with your friend was a really enjoyable read.
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AgoristTeen1994
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« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2012, 10:03:54 PM »

@JSNTS maybe, idk I didn't ask. Tongue

@Josh D. Thanks. Smiley I appreciate the compliment, and I'm glad you appreciated the summary, though the reason I posted it was to get a critique of the points I'm making and also to help get advice on how to improve my debating skills, plus better debate my friend.
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IveBeenBit
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« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2012, 10:45:10 PM »

Agorist Teen - if you want feedback on debating/persuasion, I would say to try and make it as personal as possible. Get him involved and feeling as if the two of you are on the same team.

For example....he makes up this crazy example that probably applies to <0.5% of the population (2 disabled parents, etc.)

So to him, "Well, those cases are rare and for that, we have community associations and charities where people like YOU AND I can contribute money to help those in need. And the best part is, we can look for the charities that do the most good with their money and not be forced to pay to an inefficient system like the government which sends over half the money received to bureaucrats and paper-pushers." Talking about community-driven and local collectives will probably really push his buttons, so put that in the context of an AnCap social order.

Explain to him that there is no shortage of caring people - the levels of charitable giving from Americans after 9/11, the Haitian earthquake, etc. are some contemporary examples.

Just some thoughts, off the cuff.
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